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Howlin' Wolf/Moanin' in the Moonlight

4.7 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 27, 1987
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Wolf's first two long-playing albums for the Chicago-based Chess label. Incl Red Rooster, Wang Dang Doodle, Moanin' At Midnight, How Many More Years, Smokestack Lightnin', I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline), Evil & more.

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This package combines blues giant Howlin' Wolf's first two albums, themselves compilations of his singles released between 1951 and 1962. Apart from two tracks cut in Memphis with Ike Turner, these Chess Studios recordings are landmarks in the development of electric Chicago blues. The Mississippi Delta native's gruff persona towers over "Smokestack Lightnin'," "Red Rooster," "Spoonful," "Evil," "Wang Dang Doodle," "Back Door Man," and others that have become standards since being "discovered" by the Rolling Stones, Clapton, The Doors, et al. Almost as influential as Wolf's bottomless growl are the guitar playing of Hubert Sumlin and the writing and direction of Willie Dixon. An exceptional twofer value for such a weighty slice of American musical history. --Ben Edmonds

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Shake For Me
  2. The Red Rooster
  3. You'll Be Mine
  4. Who's Been Talkin'
  5. Wang Dang Doodle
  6. Little Baby
  7. Spoonful
  8. Goin Down Slow
  9. Down In The Bottom
  10. Back Door Man
  11. Howlin' For My Baby
  12. Tell Me
  13. Moanin' At Midnight
  14. How Many More Years
  15. Smokestack Lightnin'
  16. Baby How Long
  17. No Place To Go
  18. All Night Boogie
  19. Evil
  20. I'm Leavin You
  21. Moanin' For My Baby
  22. I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)
  23. Forty Four
  24. Somebody In My Home


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 27, 1987)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chess
  • ASIN: B000002O3I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,297 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is the most essential single Howlin' Wolf CD there could possibly be and would make an excellent first purchase for a Howlin' Wolf novice. It comprises The Wolf's first two long-player releases, both what we would now regard as compilations, and was put out by Chess/MCA in 1986.

Moanin' In The Moonlight came out in America in 1959 and was made up of 12 selected A-sides and B-sides from the many 78's he released between 1951 and 1958, all monaural, including such classics as Smokestack Lightnin' and I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline). The LP kicks off with Moanin' At Midnight and How Many More Years, comprising both sides of his first Chess single, recorded in Memphis by Sam Phillips at what would become the Sun studios, long before Howlin' Wolf moved to Chicago. The songs on this LP are among the most elemental, eerie and powerful pieces of music ever committed to tape.

Equally compelling is the second collection, usually known as the Rocking Chair album, released in the US in January 1962, when the genre was presented as the root of "Music Americana". It contained 3 previously unreleased songs recorded between May and December 1961, and 9 that were on 45's released in 1960 and 1961 (though two were recorded in 1957), but all in stereo.

Famous songs include The Red Rooster, Wang Dang Doodle, Back Door Man and the Wolf's famous variation of Spoonful (he would have learned the original, fairly dissimilar Spoonful Blues from Charlie Patton) - though all staple fare for a million blues and rock bands ever since, none could match the intensity and darkness of these originals (although the Rolling Stones' Little Red Rooster came close).
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Format: Audio CD
Here are two classic Howlin' Wolf original albums collected on one CD, and it is some of the best blues music ever recorded. The Rocking Chair album must certainly have been one of Stevie Ray Vaughan's favourite album, because he recorded several songs from this one. I beleive this must be the best chicago blues album of all time. Moanin the Blues is just as great with songs as 'Evil', 'All night boogie' and 'Smokestack Lightning'. I have been a fan of Howlin' Wolf since I started listening to the blues in my teens, and his music continues to thrill and amaze me. I think you get your money's worth and more so if you get this one.
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Format: Audio CD
Howlin' Wolf was the greatest blues singer of the Memphis/Chicago axis. No hyperbole - fact. He was also the second greatest blues songwriter of the 1950s (Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, after all, share top billing there). And this package of his first two albums are all the proof you'll need, except for damn near everything else in the man's catalog. What makes these two albums as important as they are is that they also served as one of the basic texts of rock's rediscovery of the blues in the 1960s - particularly for the like of the Yardbirds, their erstwhile lead guitarist Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, and Cream, who made "Spoonful" one of their signature pieces from the outset and probably sent a host of folk scurrying to the source. What they discovered, if they were open enough, was perhaps the least reconstructed of the Delta-Memphis bred bluesmen who fed the Chicago blues scene. More than Muddy Waters or Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf kept the balance between the Delta and Chicago even-up and never let his root get too far from his tree. And riding the top, of course, was that singular voice and phrasing style, the one which more than any bluesman to follow Robert Johnson suggested both menace in the light and the sun beneath the darkness. This disc is probably one of the ten absolute requirements for any serious blues library. And it is dated not one bar.
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Format: Audio CD
Let's get my only gripes out of the way now--a drunk monkey could've come up with better packaging than what comes with this 2-albums-in-one set. The cover art is sloppily integrated and cheap, the albums are oddly in reverse chronological order (the self-titled album was released in 1962, Moanin' In The Moonlight in 1959), the liner notes are minimal given Chester Burnett A.K.A. Howlin' Wolf's importance to modern blues and the sound quality is so-so (Chess offers a remastered single disc titled His Best, if this bothers you). They even left off a track due to what they claim is CD length limitations, which is B.S. since the whole thing is under 70 minutes and most of the existing tracks are under three. Who are they trying to kid?

Other than that, this is SEMINAL electric blues from one of the best in the business. Wolf is quite simply the finest blues vocalist ever--his gravelly, soulful, cavernous growl is unmistakable and awesome, befitting a man of such huge girth and power (listen to the microphone nearly detonate on the beginning of Moanin' In The Moonlight from trying to handle his voice). His lyrics exude passion and grit, but not without a touch of humor--this is blues to party to. The band behind him is equally potent, with Hubert Sumlin's iconic riffs and Willie Dixon's bass playing and songwriting acumen.

Every song from the self-titled is a classic--the boogie-blues of Shake For Me, innuendo-drenched Little Red Rooster, party stomper Wang Dang Doodle, slow-burning and funny Goin' Down Slow, and the catchy backbeat of Down From The Bottom being my favorites. Moanin' In The Moonlight isn't quite as memorable, but it too has its share of historical blues singles such as How Many More Years, Smokestack Lightnin', Forty Four, and the Dixon-penned Evil.

This is the real stuff, and an essential buy. Let's just hope this package gets updated for a new generation.
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